22 Nov

Hello, my name is John Peters. Currently my wife and I have two kids in BPS, one at Olson Middle and one at Olson Elementary.

Since many of us first spoke to the school board in August, our goal has been to remove sexually explicit material from school libraries and classrooms, and to make sure that all reading materials are age-appropriate.

On a broader level, it is also important that all content and curriculum being taught or presented in classrooms are age-appropriate, including videos, power point presentations, and other forms of instruction.

Recently, the following video regarding gender pronouns was shown to 3rd graders at Oak Grove Elementary. https://youtu.be/MeOGFQ0e4_0?si=7LlWC80p0c7OCa8j

While proper pronoun usage is a grade 3 benchmark for Minnesota English Language Arts Standards, this video is not appropriate nor is it necessary for 3rd graders or students in general, for several reasons.

1. The concept of gender identity is controversial, and many parents do not agree with it. For elementary school students in particular, it is extremely confusing. At a very young age, children learn that there are boys and girls, as this is basic biological reality.

2. Children should be learning how to read and write properly. The video presents a confusing array of arbitrary pronouns without any clear grammatical usage for several of the pronouns shown. For example:a. Some of the pronouns are just made up, such as “Xie” and “Zhe” and have no natural basis is the English language.b. Using the word “they” to refer to an individual is both grammatically incorrect and unnecessarily confusing.

3. The video indicates that you can't know someone's pronouns and those pronouns may change at any time – how then are students going to learn to communicate confidently with one another?

4. Lastly, children should not have to worry about offending someone by using the wrong gender pronouns.

Language arts class should teach students how to read and write well. School curriculum in general should focus on overall academic excellence. Materials that instruct children in gender ideology (such as the preceding video) accomplish neither of those goals. They are not age-appropriate and should not be used in our schools. If this curriculum is to be presented to students, it should require parental notification and consent. 

Thank you.

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